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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: English Grammar Exceptions: Superlative & Comparative

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The One, it's probably the best book I've read in a while.

Hi. James from engVid.

Today I want to talk to you about, funny enough, The One.

And why I say: "The One" is usually when we talk about superlatives and comparatives,

the number one comes up quite often.

And, now, I'm not going to do your standard lesson on what the comparative is and the

superlative is; you probably are aware of this, but I would like to point out five exceptions

to the general rules.

So, I'm going to quickly go over the difference between comparative and superlative, and then

go into the exceptions.

Are you ready?

Let's go to the board.

So, E, you got my five for me.


You're going to notice on the board I have the number "1" written out repetitively.

There's a reason for it, and we'll get into it.

But let's start looking at: What is a "superlative"?

I like to look at superlative as in Superman.

Superman is the best, the strongest, the fastest, la, la, la - number one.

So, when you think of a superlative, think of the highest or the best amount.

Or, because it's extreme, it could be the worst.

Now, I've used a couple of them already, but we're going to go to the board and get a little

deeper into them.

So, it could be number one at the top or number one at the bottom.


"Comparative" is when we look at two things and we want to say there's a difference between


"He is bigger than she is" or "James is bigger than Mr. E" - comparing the two.

So, with a comparative, you generally find that we add "er" to the end of the word to

tell you that something is being compared to something else.


Comparative, and you'll see "er": "bigger", "smaller", "smarter", "taller".


We got that.

And with a superlative, we add usually "est".


And the "est" is for the "biggest", "strongest", "longest", "fastest", and it will be the number

one in its category.

And remember what I said: It could be the number one as in the best, like the best one

position, or in the lowest position number one.

Are you ready?

So let's go to the board and find out what our exceptions are.

You might be surprised, but they're actually quite often used, and actually quite often


So, the first one we're going to look at is the "best".

If you're from Japan, it's "ichiban"; if you're from Mexico or not even Mexico, any Latino

country, it's "numero uno" or we say "number one".

That's what the best is.

Kind of simple, right?

And we know what "good" is, because what's the opposite of "good"?


"Good" is something we like.

Now, why this is an exception is because usually, if you remember rightly, when I said "biggest",

we start with "big" and we go to "biggest", and we go "bigger".

So, we use the root word and we just add the "er" or the "est".

But when we look over here, if you look at my chart, increasing-meaning it's getting

better-there's an improvement going on - we start with the word "good".

That has nothing to do with the word "best".

Very different.

And this is why it's an exception; it doesn't follow the rule of: Take the root word and

add "er" or "est".

It's a completely different word, but they are related in we say something starts off

"good" - something you like, like 70%...

75% on a test is good.

It's not great, but it's good, right?

Or 80%.

"Better", and this is where we talk about the improvement; "er" means a comparative...

A comparison, and we're looking at two different things and comparing them; while "good" is

75%, "better" than that is 90%.

There's a difference between the two numbers; it's an improvement or an increase.

But the "best" would be 100%.


See, if you get 100%, you can't get much better than 100%, and we say that's the "best".

Now, these numbers aren't real.

I'm not saying each number corresponds to these things, but what I'm trying to give

you an idea is how they're related.

"Good", we like "good"; but what's better than good is something "better", or more,

or increase; and the "best" is number one, just like The One, my book.

Now, on that scale, this is good.

Think of an angel.


"Good", "better", "best".

Love you, love you, love you - angels.

Now, let's talk about the opposite.

It's my little devil; you got to have a devil.

So, "good" is good, so "bad", it's got to be the opposite.

And, once again, we talked about the exception for the comparatives and superlative rule

simply because "bad" and "worst" are not words that go together; they have no root.

The only thing that joins them together is this word here, and even still, you can't

see how you go from here to here.

That's what the problem is because students will go: "Teacher, why is it 'worst'?

Why is it 'bad' and 'worse'?

Why is it not 'bad', and 'badder', and 'baddest'?"


But these are the way we compare it in English.

So, "bad"...

If you had a test and you got 49%, you didn't quite pass, that would be pretty bad.


See, you wouldn't know what to say, that's why my little guy has no mouth.

He's just like: "I don't know.

This is bad."

All right?

But "worse" than that would be 39.

And if you notice, it's the complete opposite of when we talk about "good", "better", "best"

where the arrow is going up for improvement.

This is a decrease in...

Well, I wouldn't say "decrease".

This is...

I'm going to say de-evolution, which is a big word, but we're declining.


We're going down from the condition of what would be it's not so good, we're going to

something worse that's...

I like even less, and then when we say "worst", it's the number one.

You notice here I said: "1,000,000,000 last".

Crazy, right?

What's 1,000,000,000?

Or, you know what?

Let's say this.

Let's say 7,000,000,000 last.

There's only 7 billion people on the planet, and if you're number 7 billion, you are the


So, "worst"...

We got...

Sorry, we had "bad", we go to "worst", which is the exact opposite of "good" to "best".


And you have my little devil is showing you that.

This is the angelic way, you're going up; and the devil goes down.

All right?

So, I compare these two.

Now, let's look at the two other variables I talk are similar, yet opposites once again.

On this side we're going to talk about "many", "more", and "most".


The only thing they have in common is they all start with "m".


So, if you have a lot of something, you say: "I have many friends", "I have many good books",

"I've been to many places".


And we mean "a lot"; it's more than one, two, or three.

But when we say "more", if anything is...

Remember we talked about there's an "er"?

It's almost here that we have the "er" reversed.

It's there, but it's reversed.

So, we have the "er" for the comparative, and it means there's an addition or an increase

from what our "many" is, so there's "more".

So, we have many, we know this, but I even have more than that.

"Many more experiences", so there's an addition or an increase on our "many".

So that shows the difference in a comparison between what we have and what a difference

is in a scale that's actually going up.

All right?

You might see, when you look here and here, there is something that they have in common,

in which there's something better or increase, or we think a greater amount going on.

When we talk about the "most", once again, we have that number one because it's the greatest

amount; there is not more than that.

"I have the most of this" - it means if there is...

Let's give an example.

100th objects, if I have 90, it doesn't mean I have to have 100%, but I have most of it;

there's only 10% left over for somebody else or something else.



So, when we talk about the "most", don't confuse it with being 100%.

Even when we say the "best", the best is number one.

When we say here, the "most", it's not exactly equivalent.

It means the most...

You can have the most at 60%; that's more than 40%.


All right.

So, let's do the opposite of that, because now we have an understanding of what "many"

is, "more" than that is, and the "most" - what would be the complete opposite?

Well, let's go literally to the complete opposite.

If "most" is number one like you have the most, "least" could be just one.

It means the smallest amount you can have of something.

"I have the least amount of money."

So, if we have three friends, and one friend has $10, another friend has $5, and I have

$1, I have the least amount.

It doesn't mean one, because I could even say I could have $2, which is not 1, but it's

still the lowest of everything else.

I'm very limited in what I have.

Now, I started at the bottom; it might have been better if I started at the top, because

when we say "less", we say: "little", "less", and "least".

Well, "less" is actually what we call a reduced amount.

When we talked about "more", we talked about increasing; when we talk about "less", we

talk about reducing.

"I have less than you."

So, in this case, and this is really bizarre because there's no "er", there's nothing to

say what the comparative is.

Like I said here, you can look here and say: "Okay, at least it's there; it's hidden, it's

changed, it's disguised."

But here it's nothing; it's just "less".

But we have to understand...

Well, if I went here and said: "Well, there's a commonality here - everything starts with


"Less" means there's 5.

And what's less than 5?

I would say 3.

And we're saying, by comparison, this is not the same as this.

There's a reduction or there's a reduced amount.

Now, we're going to go to "little" because I told you I'm going backwards from "most"

to "least".

And when we go in the middle: "not much".

Not much.

I was using the example of money, so I'll say that again.

I'll use it again.

If you had $3, would you call that a lot of money?

Probably not.

You'd probably say it's a "little" money.

And you can see here, I don't have much here.

I have, like, you know, maybe 20 little...


10 little things here.

Compare it up to here, like there's 20, that's a little by comparison.

Now, continuing here, reduced, I've gone from maybe 10-15 down to 5, and at the "least"

I only have 1.



So, I'm going to take this lesson a little bit further and show you the last one of the


Because we've done one, two, three, and four.

Quickly, we know what the difference between "good", "better", "best"; "bad", "worse",

"worst" - I love all this alliteration; words that kind of rhyme...

Not rhyme, but go together because of the beginning words.

"Most", "more", "many"; "little", "less", "least"; and finally, to take it to the furthest

realm I can go, let's talk about distance.

"Far", "farther", and "farthest".

This is distance; length, you might say.

How far?

This word, here, means: How long is something from one point to another?

"How far do you live from Canada?", "How far is it to your house?"

How far it is away from there.

So, we're talking about a distance that's being covered.

Now, here's the funny thing, "far" means not close or not near.

Easy enough, right?

"Farther" means more.

The nice thing about this is we're introducing back the "er".

Remember we talked about the comparative generally has "er" and the superlative...?



Sorry, I must have clicked this 50 times on you.

And then the superlative has an "est"?

Well, on "farther", this distance-right?-we have the "er" re-introduced.

And for "farthest" we know that "est" usually means one, and that's why I put "good bye"

here because you're far away; far, far, far away.

This is the...

The last point you can be.

You say it's...

It's like if I'm comparing all two of them...

All three of them, this is the most away from you.


So, this also breaks it because we have: "far", "farther", adding on the "th", not just the


It's not "farrer"; it's "farther" and "farthest".

So, this is similar to the rule, but it's this "th" that changes the word that makes

it an exception.

Now, you know how I wo-...

How I roll.

We've done a lesson.

I'm pretty sure you understand, so now let's go and put it into practice and see how well

we do.

You ready?


Okay, so it's always good to do a lesson, but what's better is to master the lesson,

which means to demonstrate that you really understand it and you can use it on your own.

Now, here's a disclaimer or a warning.


There should be a big sign out there, saying: "Warning".

The sentences I'm about to show you in this story are horrible, so before anyone tells

me: "My god, they're bad sentences; the grammar is horrible", this is exactly the type of

sentence that you end up creating when you are not allowed to use comparatives or...

A comparative or superlatives in a...

In a sentence, okay?

So, please forgive me.

And even though I tried not to use them, because I wanted to use the words we just learned,

I still had to use some superlatives to make it work.


So, don't kill me for the grammar on it; it's done on purpose just to show you how bad the

sentence would be, and then we're going to put the proper words in and we'll see how

it works.

Now, the first thing we want to do is identify: What parts of these sentences have to be changed

in order to make the whole thing much better to read and understand?

Now, we worked on five words; we talked about: "farthest", we talked about: "least", "most",

"best", "worst".


And we talked about: "farther", "worse", and we talked about: "bette-, goo-... better",

etc., etc.

So, I want you to identify up here what we should change to use the words that we've

learned to fix it so we can have a better sentence on the bottom.

So, the first thing, let's look...

Let's look here.

I tried to make that easy for you, so take a look.

What's the first thing you think we should change?

That's right - "1".

We talked about: What's the 1, right?

So, "#1", probably going to have to change that one.


What's the next one we're going to find here?

That's right, we talked about "biggest".

I told you I had to use some superlatives here, but they don't really work well here

and that's what we talked about.

And I said they didn't really work here...

Well here, so we have better ones that we've been working on that we're going to have to

look at here.

All right?

So, the least amount of words.

Okay, good.

Can we find any other ones?

That's right.

If you remember rightly, I said the opposite of "bad" was "good".


So, there's one right there.

And we talked about...

So, you'll see I have the "one" again here, telling you only one.


Let's find another one, if there's another one.

Could there be?

Yeah, pretty good.


Do you think we could find one more?

And I'm going to give you another hint.

I said it at the beginning: I had to use superlatives because no way around them.

Could there be one more that's left here?

Yeah, good job.

There we go.

So, now that we've identified the mistakes, let's look at what we actually used.

Which words that we took from the five that I taught you, the five exceptions, could we

use here to make this much better sounding and work a lot better?

So: "Cheryl was the __________ student in her


"#1 student", what would we use here?

Very good.

"...the best student in her class".

All right?

Now, we talked about the biggest amount, and "big" means, like, large.


And I didn't say, in this case, it's not every single award, but we could say:

"She had the __________ awards for doing so well."

Now, notice I said "amount".

An amount means, like, a number.

All right?

The biggest amount, so it's not the mo-...

Like, all of them, but the biggest amount.

We can just get rid of both of those words and use "most", and that's much better sounding.


How about the next one?

"She had only one __________ and it was the __________ amount of mistakes on her tests."

We talked about "not good" being "bad".

So, it's not good; it's bad.

All right?

And that's from the "bad", "worse", and "worst", right there.

Now, "lowest amount".

So, if we have "high" is up here-all right?-and "highest" would be here, "low" is here, and

"lowest" would be here.

We could talk about this, and it actually kind of goes with a word that we learned-right?-that

started with "l".

What was that?

That's right: "least".

" was the least".

And finally, what's the one we have here?

What's the final one? " she had the __________ success in school".

We said "the highest".

Now, remember we had this number thing again; I talked about "highest" and I said it's not

like the number one, but it's a big amount of something?

And we can get rid of that word "amount", just as we did here by using another word.

What word would we use?


So, now let's take a look at this structure.

Okay, the first sentence was what I would call awkward; it didn't really flow very well

and move very well.

"Cheryl was the #1 student in her class.

She had the biggest amount of awards for doing so well.

She had only one not good mark", ah, that even hurts to say that.

" not good mark and it was the lowest amount of mistakes on her tests, so she had

the highest amount of success in school."

Some of the sentences are okay, but generally it doesn't taste very good.

Not in my mouth; it doesn't feel good.

Now let's look at this one, here.


"Cheryl was the best student in her class.

She had the most awards for doing so well.

She had only one bad mark and it was the least amount of mistakes on her tests, so she had

the most success in school."

That sounds a lot better.


Doesn't it?


And it's using all the words that we learned before.


We've got a superlative, superlative-right?-the beginning adjective here, another superlative.

Well, actually they're all superlatives, but you get the drift.

I hope you like what we did here, because what I would like to do now is give you a

bit of a bonus because this were the exceptions to the superlative and comparative that we

talked about, and I'm going to give you something that's even more of an exception.

I'm going to give you a few words to show you about two-syllable adjectives-right?-and

how they actually can follow two different rules, so it's almost more of the exceptions

to the superlative and comparative rules.

First one I can give you is "friendly".

"I like to think I'm friendly and Mr. E is friendly."

All right?

Now, you can say: "friendlier" and "friendliest".

"Okay, James, so what?

That's through."


But you can also say: "more friendly" and "most friendly".

"Mr. E is the most friendly person I've ever met.

He's the friendliest person I've ever met."


And we're doing this because "friendly" has two syllables, so it's like two syllables,

two rules.

I can give you two other ones.

There are actually quite a few out there, but I don't have enough time to give you all

of them, but I figured I'd give you ones that will come up.



You can say: "There's nothing more simple than this" or "There is something simpler

than this".

You can say: "This is the simplest thing I've done" or "This is the most simple thing I've


We can talk about "gentle".

You can be "gentler", right?

You can be "gentler" or "more gentle".

Or you can: "That's the gentlest thing you've ever...

You've ever done" or "That's the most gentle thing you've ever done".

Two syllables, and you can use both "more" or "most" with them for these three.

Not bad; that's your bonus.


So, I've showed you how these five are the basic ones that break the rules, and given

you a couple ones that you might have heard before.

But when you hear English people saying this or this, they're not wrong; they're just different.

And finally, I'm going to give you some homework to do.


And your homework is: I want you to go and take the five I've given you, create five

sentences using the base adjective.

For instance, "bad", or "good", or "little", or "far", and then change it.

Use that...

Change it.

Either make it a comparative or a superlative.

All right?

Use those endings and see if you can make a sentence.

And then I want you to go back, because I've noticed a lot of people are doing it and it's

really cool to read.

So, yes, I do read some of these things.

Go in and put them up on either engVid or you can actually put it on YouTube somewhere

here, and show us your sentences.

I've noticed it's a great community out there because people actually come and they make

comment, they actually try to improve each other or they make things "better" - there,

I'm going to use one of them.

All right?

And I do, as I said, like to look at them.

Do that, compare, and then see.

And do the...

Oh, don't forget to do the test, because if you know something, that's nice; but understanding

it is so much better.

There, and I used a comparative.


All right.

Anyway, what I want you to do is go to engVid:, and do the test there.

Or you... and I definitely want you to subscribe, so look around the box here, there's a bell

- you ding that bell, you will be given the latest video that I do.

I can't think of anything else I'm going to tell you right now, but bye.


It's been fun.

I think you're not a little worse from learning from me, and I'll see you in the next video.

Have a good one.

The Description of English Grammar Exceptions: Superlative & Comparative